The World in the Satin Bag has moved to my new website.  If you want to see what I'm up to, head on over there!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Brief Complaint Against Barnes & Noble

Those of you who follow this blog may have noticed that I have been silent for almost two weeks. This isn't because I don't like you all, or that I haven't wanted to post on here. I've simply been incredibly busy with graduate school, and studying for exams that I need to pass to graduate, unfortunately, supersedes posting here.

That said, I have come out of hiding to lodge a brief complaint against Barnes & Noble, who, as far as I can tell, told me a half truth during my long "should I buy an eReader" escapade. As some of you know, I bought a Barnes & Noble Nook. Many of you may not know that I am quite fond of it. It's a nice little device, it looks lovely, it reads lovely, and it has been a tremendous help for opening my reading space (with the exception of the last two weeks, in which I've been reading nothing by Jacques Derrida and intensive feminist, utopian, and science fiction theory, all of which are wonderful, but also far from simple). So what's my problem?

Well, when I was considering the Nook, it was made very clear to me that the upside of the Nook
was its frequent software updates and the fact that one wouldn't need to buy a new device any time soon. This is a plus for me. I don't want to buy a device that I'm going to have to replace the following year with a much better one. Since the Nook is a first generation device, I was concerned about whether it would be shoved aside by a newer, significantly better second generation one, as has happened numerous times with Apple's various products (the iPod, the iPhone, and likely the iPad). This explains why I didn't buy an mp3 player until a year or so after the iPod had reached its second generation (and I didn't buy an iPod, by the way; I own a Creative Zen Vision:M 30GB, which is a little old now, but works remarkably well and came at a damn good price).

I bought the Nook, then, because I figured that while there would likely be a new device in the future, that wasn't going to be a future immediate enough to warrant waiting. But then I discovered the following:
Look, I'm a big fat half-truth!
That's right, the Barnes & Noble folks have announced the Nook Color.  At $249, it's a little costly, and I'm not terribly pleased with the design, but that's not really the point.  What upsets me is that I was never given the option to consider the upcoming device.  Nobody ever asked me "do you want the standard e-ink, or do you want to wait until the newer device comes out in two months?"  I don't know if I would have purchased the Nook Color, but there's a good chance I might have considered it.

So, my complaint is just that:  thanks a lot, B&N, for not telling me that a new device was on its way and that I might have had the option to wait a little while before making my final decision.  You were going to get your money from me either way, because I am anti-Apple and refuse to purchase the Amazon Kindle because of the company's history.  Now I'm a little miffed.  When your Nook sales people tell me that all I have to worry about are software updates, then I take that to be true.  It wasn't.  At best, it was a half truth, because you might not have told them either (which I think is stupid).  So bleh.

That is all...

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book


  1. Come on, now...You had to see this coming. We all knew that the B&W eReaders were a precursor to color models.

    There are at least a couple of reasons why companies don't publish their roadmap. Either they don't know it yet, or they might lose competitive advantage by revealing it.

    As an electronics consumer, you have to know that better products are just around the corner. The trick is to overcome the paralysis of non-action and perennial anticipation and take the plunge, fully aware that the "new improved" version is due at some point down the line, and don't look back.

  2. Yeah, but I was told point blank that I didn't have to worry about it. I've never been told by someone selling me an mp3 player that I don't have to worry about better products down the line.

    I know a new version is eventually due, but I'd prefer not to be told that one isn't coming when that's obviously not true, especially when I'm told that, and then less than two months later a new version appears. It's just meh.

  3. Unless I'm misreading this, it sounds like your major want is the color screen. When you bought your current ereader, did you think a software update would turn the B&W screen to color? :)

    Of course not. It's just that your expectation was that you'd have more "exclusive" time with the latest and greatest model. Now a new one has come along and you have gadget envy.

    I can sympathize. We've all been burned by technology updates. I spent thousands of dollars on CD's in the 80's and 90's, none of which I use anymore. I've ripped all the music I want to keep to MP3s.

    If you want the new eReader, I recommend selling the old one to offset the cost of the new one. Consider any monetary loss a rental fee!

  4. No, I just wanted to know that in 2 months my Nook wouldn't be superseded by a brand new device by the same creators... I might have bought the color over the B&W. I don't know. But I was never given the choice. If they released a new device next year, that wouldn't bother me. That's reasonable. Expected even. I'm more burned by being told that that wasn't going to happen. They didn't tell me "we don't know if a new device is coming soon" or "there will be a new Nook at some point in the future, perhaps this year." They told me "once you get this, you won't have to worry about new devices whatsoever, because we're not upgrading the hardware anytime soon." Well, that's B.S.

    And I'm not selling my Nook. It's mine. I personalized it with my own eclectic collection of short stories, books, and random documents. I even renamed the damn thing to something in Spanish.

    And CDs don't count. mp3s didn't usurp the CD for practically a decade. So hmph.

  5. Companies can't reveal information of that kind (what's coming up and how soon) to buyers because a) it won't stay a secret, and they NEED it to stay a secret, but even more importantly b) sales would flatline or drop drastically as everyone waits for the new model, and that could literally kill the entire venture.

    It's not possible to let more than the shortest period of time go by with an upcoming "new" model known to buyers, because sales of the old model will virtually cease. B&N have more than themselves to think about with this, too, because they sell the Nook via retail giants now.

    It's literally an impossibility to reveal to buyers that a new model is planned (and you actually bought yours long enough ago that no, they had no idea WHEN it was coming, they just knew they had to get it out there asap) and stay in business/not have your stock plummet/report a decent quarter.

    Also, I think the color Nook was meant to be further away, but B&N's problems have forced them to hail mary this sucker.

    Lastly, and most pertinently, the color Nook is not the same as the software or hardware for the original Nook. So long as you continue to get upgrades and support, they didn't lie. The Kindle 2 and DX and even the Kindle 3 - now that's bullshit because it's all the same device, virtually. I hear the K3 is an improved eInk screen and whatever, but the software could EASILY be used in the older devices.

  6. Am I allowed to be grumpy about this for grumpiness' sake? Because I don't feel like being rational about B&N right now...

    I do get it. I'm just bummed about it. I love my Nook, though...